Posts tagged with "Exhibitions":

New Old: Designing for our Future Selves

Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents New Old: Designing for our Future Selves, an exhibition exploring cutting-edge design solutions for our rapidly aging society. The design concepts are centered around six themes: Identity, Community, Mobility, Home, Aging and Working. From robotic clothing to driverless cars, New Old rethinks design approaches that will help people lead fuller, healthier and more rewarding lives into old age. With work by Yves Béhar / fuseproject, Konstantin Grcic, Future Facility, Special Projects, IDEO, and PriestmanGoode, this installment is updated with work by five faculty members from the School of Design, including Mitchell Reece Johnson (Graduate Communications/Package Design), Andrea Katz (Fashion); Karol Murlak (Industrial Design); Alex Schweder (Industrial and Interior Design) and Keena Suh (Interior Design). Curated by Jeremy Myerson, Professor at the Royal College of Art, this is a touring exhibition from the Design Museum, London, in partnership with the Helen Hamlyn Trust.
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Japan House Los Angeles displays exquisite furniture handcrafted in the Hida region

A dense forest 300 miles wide spans the distance between the bustling Japanese cities of Tokyo and Kyoto. In the northern region of this divide lies Hida, a city in the Gifu Prefecture that has maintained a vibrant woodworking tradition for over 1,300 years (the first use of the term Hida no takuma, or “master craftsman of Hida,” first appeared in a written document in 467 AD). Wood bending machines introduced to the region from Germany and Austria between 1906 and 1909 led to the flourishing of the region's industry; perhaps most notable among them is Hida Sangyo Co., Ltd., a furniture manufacturer established in 1920 whose work now adorns the Japanese imperial palace and regularly exhibits at the Milan Furniture Fair. Japan House Los Angeles, one of three global exhibition spaces conceived by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is currently displaying Hida Sangyo Co.’s signature products with an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes. The show, Hida: A Woodwork Tradition in the Makingdemonstrates the range of handcrafted products originated by Hida Sangyo a century after its founding, as well as the range of creative talent the company has called upon, including designers Kenya Hara, Enzo Mari, and even architect Kengo Kuma. Exhibition designer Daigo Daikoku interspersed woodworking tools and untreated wood samples throughout to underscore the work's deep connection to handicraft. A table demonstrating the company's patented wood bending technology, for instance, reveals how an unremarkable block of wood is shaped into a finely-detailed chair back and set of armrest using only three steps. Another table features six glass domes containing wood samples—among them, cypress, Japanese magnolia, five-needle pine, and sansho pepper. Visitors are encouraged to lift the domes, “take a deep breath and experience the abundance of Hida's beautiful forests through all five senses.” Nearly all six, I was convinced, could easily be distilled and sold as cologne for the rugged consumer market with little alteration. Along the back wall, Daikoku included a series of wooden toys of his own design. His stacked, compressed wood blocks and the interlocking boards both recall toy designs produced by Charles and Ray Eames, the mid-century duo that also found success in experimenting with wood and wood bending devices. “Please enjoy the charm of wood in tune with the soul and aesthetic of Japanese craft," Daikoku implored the viewer, “and imagine you are walking through the forests of Hida.” The exhibition succeeds in showcasing the phenomenal tactile qualities of wood and its seemingly limitless potential as a resource for design. Hida: A Woodwork Tradition in the Making will be on display until April 12.
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Participating artists protest MoMA PS1's relationship with toxic philanthropy

Thirty-seven of the artists participating in the current MoMA PS1 group show Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011 have collaborated on an open letter addressed to the museum calling for a reappraisal of its “dysfunctional and abusive relationship to toxic philanthropy.” The letter, in particular, asks for the museum to sever ties with two of its board members: Larry Fink, CEO of investment firm BlackRock, and Leon Black, owner of the military security group Constellis and equity firm Apollo Global Management. The two have profited from weapons manufacturing, private prisons, immigration detention centers, and other industries the artists find morally objectionable. The letter, signed by artists including Ali Eyal, the Guerrilla Girls, Mona Hatoum, Jon Kessler, and Martha Rosler, was sent to MoMA and MoMA PS1 directors Glenn Lowry and Kate Fowle, respectively, on January 9, and was copied to Ruba Katrib and Peter Eleey, the curators of the exhibition. It was partially written to address their support of fellow artist Phil Collins' withdrawal from the exhibition days before it opened to the public on November 3. “We, the undersigned participants in Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011," the letter states, "echo this call and support Collins in the hope that his action will ‘contribute to the global momentum to protest inequity, occupation, labour extraction and disenfranchisement, and to see, together, better days.’” Though the letter expresses appreciation for the exhibition's efforts to draw public attention to the wars in Iraq, the artists “wish to make visible MoMA’s connection to funds generated from companies and corporations that directly profit from these wars.” The issue was additionally raised in November when artist Michael Rakowitz asked the museum to pause a video of his that was on display in the gallery space. Following their rejection of his request, Rakowitz came to the museum on January 11 to pause it himself and place a written statement on the wall alongside it. “I’ve decided to press the pause button on my video, RETURN, so that we can discuss some recent events,” reads the statement. It then puts a spotlight on the investments BlackRock has made towards the GEO Group and Core Civic, two prison corporations that have been, according to the artist, “responsible for approximately 70 [percent] of all immigration detentions and are part of a racist, carceral system which has made the US the largest jailer in the world.” It separately addressed Apollo Global's connection to the defense contractor responsible for the deaths of 17 people at Baghdad’s Nisour Square. If Fink and Black do not divest from these companies, the letter requests that MoMa PS1 remove the two as board trustees “so that I may unpause my video and press play.” (It should be noted, as Hyperallergic also reported, the museum took down Rakowitz's statement and started the video again.) The artists' stance against the museum's board of trustees mirrors a series of events that took place at the Whitney Museum of American Art last July. Eight artists featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial withdrew their participation in a protest against Warren B. Kanders, a vice-chairman of the museum and owner of law enforcement and military supplies manufacturer Safariland. Kanders stepped down from his position later that month amid growing pressure from the artists and a number of activists that staged protests in the museum's ground floor lobby. MoMA PS1 has not yet provided a public statement regarding its stance towards the open letter.
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Loitering takes center stage in Los Angeles

Taking up space, it seems, is among the most actively policed crimes in America today. Sidewalk infrastructure prohibits extended stays through the punitive additions of spikes and dividers, cafes are inviting so long as one exchanges their stay for the purchase of food or drink, and the browsing experience in retail settings is regularly guarded. The library and the park, in fact, are the last few public places today where a person can while away time without paying a price, and even these two are threatened by diminishing public investment. An exhibition just held at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG), set within a public park of its own, reappraises the concept of loitering to define it as a necessary—and, sometimes, even beautiful—part of the human experience. Curated by Ciara Moloney, Loitering is Delightful presented the work of ten Los Angeles artists who "respond in varying ways to the joyful possibilities of slowing down." One of the first pieces visitors encountered, for instance, was Untitled (Municipal Boxes), a plywood platform and set of furniture pieces from Lauren Davis Fisher that visitors were encouraged to interact with. The artist noticed that the gallery's concrete architecture, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House on the other side of the park, had an imposing effect on visitors and hoped to counteract this experience with an installation made entirely of wood, a material known to have a generally inviting tactile quality. Quite literally, the piece's presence in the center of the gallery put loitering on the center stage. A series of rooms featured elegant pencil drawings and dioramas of imaginary neo-classical buildings fabricated by artist Milano Chow that recalled a bygone era of architectural design that openly embraced fantasy, delight, and open-ended contemplation. Their highly detailed draftsmanship encouraged the viewer to linger in the gallery space, getting lost in their ornamentation, and, hopefully, losing track of time. At the end of the exhibition was a bulletin board covered by a slew of post-it notes answering the question "Where do you like to loiter in Los Angeles?" Answers included L.A.-centric responses such as, "my car," and "Zuma Beach," while the majority of others gave evidence to the fact that parks and libraries truly are the last few places a person can truly feel they are not unduly taking up space. Loitering is Delightful was on display from October 31, 2019 to January 12, 2020.
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Omar Sosa gets comfortable at Friedman Benda

One's threshold for discomfort can vary widely as can their need for comfort. Conditioned by external forces, these psychological extremes have a strong impact on the behavior, identity, and the social norms we adopt. Collective expectations of convenience and satisfaction often mirror economic and societal shifts. In the past, we might have been unknowingly content to live without the amenities we've grown accustomed to since. Exploring the split between comfort and discomfort through a visual, material, and referential lens, Omar Sosa mounts the Comfort exhibition at the Friedman Benda gallery, on view until February 15. The cofounder and creative director of maverick interiors publication Apartamento was commissioned by the collectible design platform as part of its annual guest curator program. In his research, Sosa sought to investigate comfort's correlation with aesthetics, and the tension that occurs between the visual and physical properties of utilitarian objects, sculptures, photographs, and paintings. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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National Building Museum teams with the Folger Shakespeare Library for 2020 Block Party

The Washington, D.C.-based National Building Museum is shaking things up for its 2020 Block Party, a rambunctious summer-long exhibition that converts the museum’s great hall into an interactive installation. While the National Building Museum has traditionally commissioned architecture firms to head up Block Party (see last year’s Lawn from Rockwell Group or the mini Snarkitecture retrospective in 2018), today they announced the museum had instead chosen the Folger Shakespeare Library and University of South Carolina to realize Shakespeare’s Playhouse for the exhibition’s seventh outing later this year. From July 4 through September 7, visitors can experience an “Elizabethan-inspired” outdoor theater set within the great hall. More than just an exploration of how architecture and stage design converge, Shakespeare’s Playhouse will become a fully functional stage at night and host showings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Tuesday through Sunday until August 30. The Folger Shakespeare Library is one of the world’s largest Shakespeare and most-visited Shakespeare collections, and hosts exhibitions and shows both at home in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Beginning yesterday, January 6, the institution began a multi-year renovation and expansion of the 1932, Paul Cret-designed building that it calls home. “This colorful, portable, and freestanding theater,” said Robert Richmond, who will be directing the construction of Shakespeare’s Playhouse, “the installation provides a perfect platform for entering this dream of a play, where real and imagined worlds blend. Bringing favorite Folger actors and artistic team members to undertake this theatrical adventure is the extraordinary beginning of partnerships and performances off-site during the Folger’s renovation.” While no design details have been released as of yet, AN will follow up when images are revealed in the spring.
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Matt Johnson exhibits construction equipment as sculpture at Blum & Poe

Much of the work produced by Los Angeles-based sculptor Matt Johnson attempts to speak to both the fields of art and architecture by marrying the material language of the latter with the playfulness of the former. An untitled exhibition of his work currently on display at L.A. gallery Blum & Poe demonstrates the artist's ability to take seemingly banal elements familiar to the construction industry—traffic cones, cinder blocks, bricks, rebar—and reconfigure them into works that question balance, efficiency, bureaucracy, and the general feeling of safety we ascribe to the built environment. Johnson's fourth solo exhibition at Blum & Poe features eleven sculptures, each of which present fragile, precarious figures out of the most durable materials available in the building industry. This combination of materiality and precarity presented by Johnson recalls the work of modern and contemporary sculptors, including the spindly figures of Alberto Giacometti, the metal balancing acts of Alexander Calder, and the multimedia assemblages of Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Like those artists, Johnson employs few tricks to summon his materials into their seemingly impossible positions. “No illusions are cast,” the press release states, “the objects are carved actors on a set, executing their performances, restricted only by their painted, wooden, physical existence.” A few of the sculptures on display even manage to bring a sense of personality and narrative to the inert objects that make up their compositions. One sculpture, titled 1 block with 2 bricks and 2 bricks cantilevered on 1 bar, can be read as the embodiment of a millennia-long competition between clay and concrete in the building industry—or, speaking more generally, between two distinctly opposing methods of potentially arriving at the same final result. This and other pieces are, according to the gallery, “organized information, like subatomic particles, atoms and elements, molecules and compounds, glued by gravity, and magnetic polarity, surfing in a sea of electrical conductivity.” The exhibition will be on display until January 11, 2020.
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The Architectural Beast distorts architectural imagery at the FRAC Biennale

For the 2019 Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) Biennale in Orléans, France, SCI-Arc director Hernan Diaz-Alonso curated The Architectural Beast, an installation featuring 17 contemporary artists and architects. Together with Diaz-Alonso, Los Angeles-based designer Casey Rehm co-produced the installation: 12 paired video screens that nod towards Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (or The Large Glass installation). The top panel exhibits printed images the artists have selected to represent their work, while the lower screens show that same imagery being transformed by artificial intelligence software developed by Rehm. Also named The Architectural Beast, the software was designed to independently alter the imagery presented over the course of the three-month installation. According to Rehm, the program's AI is "initially trained on curated datasets of images and texts of the artists representing an institutional understanding of architecture, to an understanding of architecture of populist valuation." The AI, in other words, spends each night conducting image searches for the day's most popular architectural images and then uses the results to manipulate the original imagery. "By the second month of its life," Rehm explains, "it should cross the 50 percent line of curated artist and internet images in its network."
"Through artificial intelligence," wrote Diaz-Alonso in the installation description, "the work featured will be exposed to a perpetual state of transformation and mutation. The exhibition gathers a key set of practices, primarily from architecture, but also from art and fashion, to reveal facets of the strange beast that the tumultuous paradigm shifts of recent decades have left behind." The AI also uploads the imagery as individual posts on Instagram daily under the username @thearchitecturalbeast, each of which is complemented by cryptic texts that are developed by a separate AI program. This writing, which at first glance read like heavy theoretical essays with the aid of predictive text, was initially trained on the written work of Rehm, Liam Young, and Damjan Jovanovic. The combination of text and imagery created by The Architectural Beast demonstrates one way architects can let go of the wheel and give artificial intelligence greater agency in the role of human-centered design. The installation is currently on view through January 19.
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Peter Halley’s Heterotopia II explored the relationship between painting, architecture, and image

Peter Halley’s Heterotopia II, a candy-colored shrine to geometric abstraction closed on December 20 at Greene Naftali gallery in Chelsea (Manhattan). The exhibition, which embodied the relationship between painting and architectural space, brought visitors into a disorienting, hyperreal world collaged out of references to science fiction, modernist architecture, and mass media—all painted in fluorescent hues. The installation was both a fortress and a stage set and brought to mind the importance of creating alternative worlds and ways of seeing while also probing the ties between architecture, art, and image.  The experience could be described as stepping into one of the Neo-Geo paintings Halley became known for in the ’80s. Or, like stepping into a Josef Albers color study—the same floor appearing to drastically transform in color as one moves from a room with pink walls to one painted orange. Housed between floor-to-ceiling yellow walls coated in Roll-A-Tex, visitors could catch small glimpses of the polychromatic, multi-level interior spaces from narrow cut-outs along the perimeter prior to entering and one could enter one of two ways: through a long hall covered in glimmering metallic tinsel, or an entry immediately confronted with a set of low, blue steps. Eight rooms in total contained eight new shaped-canvas paintings that incorporated the same Roll-A-Tex coating as the exterior walls. Like the three-dimensional space the paintings occupied, symmetry was abandoned in favor of variously sized stacked rectangles reminiscent of prison cells, circuit boards, or maybe a section taken through a PoMo building. The rooms emanated from a central glowing core which was the only space in the gallery that could not be climbed into and occupied, but only looked down into through three distinct apertures in the surrounding rooms. Both the positive and negative shapes recalled iconic elements from modernist architects—Luis Barragan or Ricardo Legorreta’s stairs (not a handrail in sight), Louis Kahn’s concentric cut-outs, or Peter Eisenman’s grid.  Halley utilized such elements to compose sightlines, resulting in the most exciting views of the paintings being not from directly in front of, but mediated by the architecture itself—from the top of a staircase, at the intersection of two contrasting colored walls, between beams and columns, or framed by a “window”. The paintings themselves are worlds within a world within a world and have accordingly been named after Isaac Asimov’s fictional universes: Helicon, Galaxia, Terminus, and Gaia Creating paintings that depicted both social isolation and connectivity, the artist's work has often looked to geometry as a metaphor for society. A heterotopia can be defined as institutions that are in opposition to the utopia, spaces that are different and that operate outside of societal norms (prisons, temples, cemeteries, and brothels are some of the examples Michel Foucault outlined in his essay "Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias"). At the same time, heterotopias often reveal as much as they conceal, acting as a mirror that reflects back the values of the dominant culture. Halley’s Heterotopia II is a labyrinthian universe that highlighted visitors’ relationship to and perception of color in the built environment whether applied to a canvas, a wall, or pixels of a photo uploaded to social media. In today’s terms, the installation is “Instagrammable,” to say the least. The work exhibited tensions and connections between rationalist geometry, color, and the relationship to technology that seem inescapable. So of course, I posted an image of the alien green room housing the painting Terminus to my Instagram story, to which my sister replied: “Wow! It looks like Mario World.” Despite her distance from any sort of contemporary art world discourse, she’s not all that far off. And perhaps like Mario World, much of the essence or aura of the installation was lost in stillness, on pause, or in a photograph. It took traversing the space, hugging the wall so as not to fall off the different heighths of stairs, moving up to go back down again, hopping over obstacles, or darting past other gallery-goers to truly experience the work.  It’s impossible to enter this exhibition and not think about the thousands of uploads it will, and has, generated in digital space. In the age of pop-up experiences and Instagram museums, Heterotopia II inevitably lends itself well to fashionable stories and selfie opportunities (yes, it was listed on FOMOFeed). Perhaps the work was more of a reverie than critique. The installation depicted digitally in the square cells of Instagram, rather than the physical location itself, could be viewed as the heterotopia at hand. How we see and perceive color on the screen, as opposed to witnessing the interplay of surfaces IRL, reveals a lot about how we’ve come to relate to, consume (and share) both art and architecture on a broader level.
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A thrilling journey through the history of the car is on show in London

The automobile—a long-time fetish object of architects, the car is arguably the object that defines the 20th Century and one that has perhaps sent us crashing us into the 21st. The development of the car was once fuelled by optimism, able to set people free to go where they wanted, when they wanted. Today, however, its image has been tainted by its contribution to the climate crisis. The car is both personal and global, shaping lives, cities and nations, and it is the subject of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s (V&A) latest exhibition: Cars: Accelerating the Modern World.

There’s no Lamborghini Countach, no Citroen DS or Aston Martin DB5 here, this isn’t that kind of show. Cars is a critique of the automobile and its impact. Expect instead to find posters about workers rights relating to Fordist assembly lines, maps tracking global oil production, the world’s first commercial car designed using wind tunnel testing (the Tatra 77), and Graham, the viral, life-sized latex figurine born from the Transport Accident Commission of Australia that shows how humans could evolve to survive a car crash.

Tucking the exhibition into the new AL_A-designed Sainsbury Gallery at the V&A in London, curators Brendan Cormier and Lizzie Bisley have, through a welcome variety of mediums, given audiences a thrilling ride through the history of the car that’s full of unexpected turns.

With regards to architecture, we’re given Prussian-American architect Albert Khan’s plans for the Henry Ford’s Highland Park plant, the place where assembly lines were first used for industrial production. Next to it is a model of Italian architect Giacomo Mattè-Trucco’s Fiat Lingotto factory in Turin, complete with rooftop test track. But nearby is something more sinister—a letter from a Highland Park factory worker’s wife to Mr Ford. “The chain system you have is a slave driver! My God!” it reads, detailing the perils of the factory conditions.

It comes as no surprise to learn that Ford was a control freak. In 1926 he purchased land in Amazon Rainforest to produce his own rubber. Brazilian workers were banned from smoking, drinking alcohol and playing football, while American customs such as square-dancing in community halls and working in the sun, as well as hamburgers in the canteen, were introduced. The workers revolted and “Fordlandia”, as it was known, was abandoned in 1945.

Factory revolts and angry letters to bosses may be fewer and far between now, particularly as machines usurp humans in factory line production. A lengthy and eerily slow panning projection of the inside of the BMW Group Plant in Munich duly demonstrates this. Here machines do the heavy lifting while humans keep watch.

Cars also delves into the wider spatial implications of the automobile. Le Corbusier, who was as obsessed with the car as any architect (maybe more), designed the Maison Citröhan (1922)—named in the car manufacturer’s honor—to be as efficient as the car. Tire manufacturer Michelin, meanwhile, carried out an exhaustive photographic study of dangerous roads in America in the 1930s, highlighting the need for urgent improvement, and an array of photos from this shows just how poor America's roads once were. Missing, however, is Frank Lloyd Wright’s conception of the garage. The car’s impact on suburbs, roadside architecture (notably the work of Denise Scott-Brown), along with highways and freeways and drive-in cinemas is also amiss, but these do all feature in the exhibition’s accompanying book, which has been beautifully produced.

“In the end we ran out of space,” Cormier told AN. More important to the curators was to expose the rush for oil extraction the car created and the devastating effect this is having on the environment, which is understandable.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors are continually exposed to visions of a future which will never exist. One example: adverts and sci-fi films from 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s show many men in many cars, but none are stuck in traffic. By analyzing the automobile through the rear-view-mirror, Cars highlights how the car and modernity have failed to deliver on many promises. That hasn't stopped the industry, though. In the last room is 'Pop.Up Next', a concept from Italdesign which combines an electric car and a drone that is able to clip onto the pod-like vehicle—or rather, another attempt at a flying car, a never-realized fantasy of old which, like its predecessors, may be destined to forever belong in a museum. 

Cars: Accelerating the Modern World runs through 19 April 2020.

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AN rounds-up the best exhibitions to see before the end of the year

As the year comes to a close, AN has gathered some of the best architecture exhibitions worldwide to feast your eyes upon before (and into) 2020. Historical retrospectives, site-specific installations in starchitect designed museums, even methods for how to scale the walls of the Eastern State Penitentiarythe list represents the breadth of subjects that architectural theory and curatorial practice have explored this past year and decade. Gio Ponti. Loving Architecture November 27, 2019, through April 13, 2020 MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts Via Guido Reni, 4A, 00196 Rome, Italy
Love architecture, be it ancient or modern. Love it for its fantastic, adventurous and solemn creations; for its inventions; for the abstract, allusive and figurative forms that enchant our spirit and enrapture our thoughts. Love architecture, the stage, and support of our lives. -Gio Ponti, Amate l’architettura (In praise of architecture) 1957
In collaboration with CSAC of Parma and Gio Ponti Archives, MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts has put on a major retrospective of work by Italian architect, Gio Ponti. The exhibition is curated by Maristella Casciato (the senior curator of architectural collections at the Getty Research Institute) and surveys Ponti’s prolific, multifaceted career as an architect, designer, poet, and critic through models, photographs, books, objects, and more.  Margherita Guccione, director of MAXXI Architettura said in a recent press release, “Neither classical nor modern, the work of Gio Ponti was unique... ranging from the design of objects of everyday use to the invention of spatial configurations for the modern home and the creation of complex projects embedded within the urban context, maintaining architecture, setting and saving grace of our lives, as the fixed core of his research.” Alexander Rosenberg: A Climber's Guide to Eastern State Penitentiary or, Eastern State's Architecture, and How to Escape It On view now through January 1, 2020 Eastern State Penitentiary 2027 Fairmount Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130 Alexander Rosenberg is a Philadelphia-based artist, educator, and writer. Receiving his BFA in Glass from RISD and Master of Science in Visual Studies from MIT, much of his work is a deep exploration of the study of glass as a material. In this body of work, Rosenberg produced a site-specific installation and performance in response to the architecture and preservation of Eastern State Penitentiary.  Rosenberg has developed and climbed more than a dozen possible routes to scale the prison’s 30-foot walls using “clean climbing” techniques. For the climbs, the artist fabricated climbing gear from materials that would have been readily available within the penitentiary at the year of its closing in 1971, as well as maps of the climbs and a guidebook for “how to escape” the architecture. According to an artist’s statement, the project aims to “provoke discussion about conservation and preservation between nature and artifice in the built and ‘natural’ worlds.” Architecture Arboretum November 4, 2019, through January 21, 2020 Princeton University School of Architecture North Gallery School of Architecture, Princeton, NJ 08544 A new exhibition at Princeton University School of Architecture investigates the important relationship between architecture and trees. Architecture Arboretum, curated by Sylvia Lavin, a professor of history and theory of architecture at the university, evaluates trees as natural objects that have influenced major shifts in architectural thinking. The exhibition looks at how modern architectural drawings are filled with a variety of carefully considered trees that have been used as objects of observation, linguistic signs, as well as objects in themselves that can be designed. The concept of the show, as described on the University’s website, is that “Architecture and trees share important features—the capacity to define space, produce climates, and shape the visual field—but also because trees perform architectural tasks in ways that care for the earth’s surface better than most buildings.” Lauren Henkin: Props November 22, 2019, through March 2020 Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati 44 East 6 Street, Downtown Cincinnati Conceived as a dialogue between site-specific installation work and Zaha Hadid’s first U.S. building, Lauren Henkin’s, Props, will be on view at Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati through March 2020. The exhibition features eight sculptures scattered throughout the museum in locations considered “unconventional” or “unintended” exhibition spaces, never before used to display art.  “Henkin’s pieces will invite visitors to consider with greater care and nuance often overlooked architectural details and spaces,” said Harris Weston, director and chief curator in a press release. The physical access given to the artist provides her with the room to interrogate the architectural and stylistic elements of the starchitect-designed museum. The Architect’s Studio: Tatiana Bilbao October 18, 2019, through March 5, 2020 Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Gl Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk, Denmark Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao explores Mexico’s culture and building traditions in a new exhibition at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The show is the third in The Architect’s Studio series, which focuses on a new generation of architects who work with sustainability and social practice in mind.  “When you come from a country without resources, you are used to not wasting them,” Bilbao explained in an interview on the museum’s website. The analysis of both landscape and cultural traditions plays a major role in Bilbao’s work which makes use of materials such as rammed earth and ideas on how the built environment influences those who occupy it. Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience Through May 3, 2020 The Museum of Craft and Design 2569 Third Street, San Francisco, CA An exhibition at San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design will showcase visionary solutions for emergency shelters in the wake of natural disasters. Curated by Randy Jayne Rosenberg of Art Works for Change, Survival Architecture and The Art of Resilience imagines the future of a climate-constrained world by addressing the need for adaptable housing for vulnerable populations.  One project, Cardborigami (2016) by Tina Hovsepian, is a compact and foldable cardboard structure suitable for two people to sleep in. Other projects by over 20 artists and studios illustrate similar radical proposals for navigating the possibility of extreme weather. Organized into four themes—Circular, Portable, Visionary, and Resilientevery project begs the viewers to examine how the built environment can be designed flexibly when change is the only constant.
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Love in a Mist (The Politics of Fertility) deftly blends design with pregnancy politics

We might look back on 2019 as a year of perpetual crises, should we survive their enduring damages. The Amazon rainforest burned for weeks under a far-right populist in Brazil, as land long-held by indigenous peoples was effectively cleared for cattle. At the moment of writing, there is ongoing, large-scale and violent civil unrest in Hong Kong, Lebanon, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Iraq, and Iran. Even limiting our attention to the American news cycle, as we often do, it's difficult to cultivate hope for a future which, per the U.N. Emissions Gap Report, may not exist without significant infrastructural change. Millennials are increasingly opting not to have children, if not for financial insecurity, then out of an acute anxiety over the diminished prospects for life on earth. The contested appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court (to pluck one item from the trash fire of this year in American politics) has ensured a bleak outlook for the future of Roe v. Wade as well. Women dressed as Atwood’s handmaids protested a stylized dystopia of forced birth that is, in some ways, already real for poor women in states with no practical access to abortion services. Architects often feel called to address these political terrains as the conceptual and material grounds for design solutions, as if architecture is not already implicated and architects are not human actors also living under these same existential conditions. The objects in need of solutions are so immense, so out of scale, and so tangled in intersecting forces, that it’s difficult to do more than call attention to them—to try to express the unspeakable. Love in a Mist (The Politics of Fertility) is an ambitious show currently on view at the Druker Design Gallery at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design that acknowledges the urgency and complexity of an endangered reproductive future. And yet, it reaches for hope in the face of possible extinction. Conceived by the architect Malkit Shoshan, the show assumes an activist posture to address a nuanced set of concerns around the body, fertility, and seemingly detached environmental crises. By assembling research, activist artifacts, artistic works, and a deep bibliography of feminist texts, Love in a Mist locates resistance and hope in interconnection and its enunciation. As Donna Haraway pleads in her science-fiction work Children of the Compost, cited in the exhibition text, we can and must articulate new forms of relation to each other and the earth—it’s a matter of inter-species survival. The domination (and depletion) of the environment and the control over human reproduction are intimately entangled, Shoshan argues. At the fulcrum of fertility (engineered by synthetic hormones or controlled through conservative legislation), women and nature are recognized as mutually domitable objects. It’s a problematic alignment, but the show works through that tension with care. The exhibition was instigated as an urgent response to the sharp increase in anti-abortion legislation known as “heartbeat bills,” some of which were signed into law in Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Georgia this year. The exhibited work builds on the scholarship of Lori Brown, whose study of the landscapes of U.S. abortion access is presented in takeaway texts and series of infographics. From this legal ground, the sequence of the show quickly expands that predicament to an ecological scale with research on the history of synthetic estrogen. Diethylstilbestrol, or DES, had been prescribed to women suffering miscarriages beginning in the 1940s. Understood to reduce pregnancy complications and loss, its harmful effects weren’t known until the 1970s, when DES was linked to clear-cell carcinoma in women and girls. DES had also been used as a growth hormone in livestock feed and caused breast and cervical cancer in those consuming estrogen-laden poultry and meat. Introduced into the agricultural ecology, DES contaminated the surrounding land, water, and plants. Hyperproduction is an acceleration of death. The content of the exhibition is organized into four distinct chapters: Reproductive rights, accelerated growth, extinction, and compost. This framework is spatialized into a linear sequence of four wood-framed greenhouses, beginning with the heartbeat and finding its way out through the compost bin. The greenhouse is the primary architectural device in the design of the show, also by Shoshan. She acknowledges it as a “natural container” for the content on view; it’s an obvious reference to the greenhouse effect, and also a literal technology for the cultivation and control of nature. The framing also stands in for the less discernible spaces of fertility that Love in a Mist tries to access—including brick-and-mortar and mobile clinics, crisis pregnancy centers, and state legislatures, as well as fields, forests, and swamps. Multimedia work enlivens the information-rich exhibition environment. A video by Desirée Dolron shows swamps in Texas overtaken by a disruptive weed. Audio recordings of Northern California woods by Bernie Krause over nearly 30 years testify to a depleted “biophany.” Diana Witten’s documentary Vessel shows the travels of Women on Waves, whose portable abortion clinic is also represented in the show. Yael Bartana’s trailer to What if Women Ruled the World fantasizes an international government of women against an apocalyptic backdrop. Tabita Rezaire’s Sugar Walls Teardom is a vibrant video document in the compost section which acknowledges the contribution of black womxn’s wombs to advancements in biomedical technology. The work, in the end, is thoroughly documentary but it maintains an effective pulse. Rather than directly taking up representational concerns, as feminist exhibitions so often do, it leans into the artifacts and techniques of fertility politics. For that reason, the distinct outlier of the show is a figural womb sculpted by Joep van Lieshout, a Dutch architect who also collaborated with Rebecca Gomperts on the Women on Waves clinic. It makes a static object of a living organ, one we’ve come to understand as influenced by so many external forces. Love in a Mist finds recourse through the living. Named for a flower whose seeds were once ingested for their abortifacient properties, the exhibition puts as much faith in the home remedy as in the clinical procedure. Making kin, to borrow Donna Haraway’s prescription for earthly survival, must remain a matter of choice. The exhibition is on view through December 20.